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Outside the Lab Profession, Genetics and epigenetics, Technology and innovation, Software and hardware

Business in Brief

Up to (Genomic) Speed

Advances in sequencing technology have produced an unprecedented amount of genomic data, now doubling every seven months. Genomic analysis is typically a computational bottleneck in the pipeline – but Parabricks has recently developed a GPU-based solution to analyze whole genomes in under a minute (1).

In the Cloud

The FDA has awarded a five-year, US$20 million contract to DNAnexus to power the precisionFDA Collaborative Omics Environment in the Cloud. Launched in December 2015, precisionFDA has led to advances in regulatory science for NGS-based drugs and devices. It unites government, academia, and industry to provide a community platform for NGS assay evaluation (2).

A New Horizon

The Human Protein Atlas (HPA) will use Horizon Discovery’s CRISPR-edited knockout cell models in its Cell Atlas program, which aims to improve our understanding of genetic factors in disease. The new partnership will expand open-access resources and boost global genetic research (3).

There’s an App for That

Digital therapeutics is an emerging health discipline that uses technology to augment or even replace drugs when managing and treating medical conditions. The FDA has already approved some digital therapeutics, including a birth control app called Natural Cycles and an electrocardiogram app for the Apple Watch (4).

A Molecular Touch

A method for rapidly detecting somatic mutations from tissue sections has proven successful in colorectal cancer. The Biocartis Idylla system runs cartridge-based assays that facilitate a “molecular-touch” preparation method in which filter paper is pressed against fresh tissue in the grossing room; it can return somatic mutation results even before the tissue has been processed (5).

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  1. NVIDIA Developer (2020). Available at:
  2. Business Wire (2019). Available at:
  3. Horizon Discovery (2019). Available at
  4. Dark Daily (2020). Available at:
  5. MR Al-Turkmani et al., 64, 865 (2018). PMID: 29483108.
About the Author
Luke Turner

While completing my undergraduate degree in Biology, I soon discovered that my passion and strength was for writing about science rather than working in the lab. My master’s degree in Science Communication allowed me to develop my science writing skills and I was lucky enough to come to Texere Publishing straight from University. Here I am given the opportunity to write about cutting edge research and engage with leading scientists, while also being part of a fantastic team!

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